Put Irish farmhouse cheese on the menu next year with these great recipe ideas from Bord Bia.
Ireland has a great variety of farmhouse cheeses, each unique to its producer. These recipes will give you an idea of the wealth of different cheeses out there, and their versatility in cooking.
To get the best from your cheese, Bord Bia offers the following advice for cooking with farmhouse cheeses:
• Never overheat your cheese. Cheeses will fare better in dishes that require long, slow cooking. Hard cheeses particularly tend to seize up and become tough if they are exposed to too high a temperature.
• Add the cheese as late as possible in the cooking process. This will help preserve the delicate flavour.
• If you are grating cheese, leave it as late as possible. Once you grate a cheese it will begin to lose its flavour. Grate your cheese cold and it will grate more easily.
• Be careful when seasoning cheese dishes. Most cheeses contain added salt.
• If you are using fresh cheese in grilling or baking, goat’s and ewe’s cheeses work best as they are naturally homogenised and do not curdle as easily as cow’s cheeses.
Cashel Blue and celeriac soup
The combination of these two distinctive flavours creates a most interesting and satisfying soup. If celeriac isn’t available celery can be used instead.
25g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions about 325g/12oz peeled and roughly chopped
450g/1lb peeled and roughly chopped celeriac
900ml/1 1/2 pints chicken stock
Freshly milled black pepper
150ml/1/4 pint single cream
125g/4oz Cashel Blue, rind removed
Snipped chives to garnish
Heat the butter and oil in a large pan and fry the onion and celeriac over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes to draw out the flavours. Add the chicken stock, season with milled black pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Liquidise or puree until smooth.
Return to the pan, reduce the heat, add the cheese, stirring all the time until the cheese melts.
Add the cream and reheat gently. Serve sprinkled with snipped chives and croutons.
Abbey feta cheese quiche with tomato, basil, and aubergine
300g/10.5oz puff pastry
400g/14oz beef tomatoes
15g/0.5oz of fresh basil
325g/11.5oz of aubergines
125g/4.5oz of Abbey St Canice feta cheese
250ml/9fl oz cream
Pinch of salt and pepper
Roll out the pasty and line a 23cm/9 inch circular quiche tin. Place some of the sliced tomatoes in a layer in the base of the tin. Season and sprinkle with basil.
Cover with a layer of aubergine.
Arrange the remaining beef tomato and feta cheese slices alternately in a circle around the edge of the tin. Place the remaining slices of aubergine in the centre overlapping in a circle.
Whisk the cream and eggs together and pour onto the quiche tin. Place in a pre-heated oven and cook at 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 45 minutes
Serve warm or cold with relish or chutney. Serves four.
Mount Callan cheese and leek soufflé
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 1/4 cups of warm milk
1 cup of grated Mount Callan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
cracked black pepper
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups cream
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook for six minutes or until golden. Set aside.
Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat and melt. Add flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Whisk milk into flour mixture and then stir until mixture has boiled and thickened. Remove mixture from heat and stir through cheese, thyme, pepper, leeks and egg yolks.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites through cheese mixture and spoon into six one–cup capacity greased soufflé ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill dish with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake at 180°C (350°F ) for 20 minutes or until soufflés are puffed and set. Remove baking dish from oven and allow soufflés to fall and cool slightly.
To serve, invert soufflés onto deep serving dishes and coat each with cream. Return to oven and bake for a further 15 minutes or until soufflés are puffed and golden. Serve with a rocket salad.
Individual Cooleeney Camembert and crab quiches
150g shortcrust pastry
150g Cooleeney Camembert
150g canned crab
Salt and pepper
Roll out pastry and line six individual tins (10cms ). Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Slice cheese thinly. Sprinkle crab over base of each quiche. Top with sliced Cooleeney Camembert cheese and sprinkle chopped shallots on top.
Beat eggs lightly, add cream and seasoning. Pour into each quiche and bake in a hot oven (200°C ) for 10 minutes. Reduce to 180°C for 15 minutes or until set.